Kohl's Department Stores piloting EV charging stations at 33 stores, none in WI

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

From a news release issued by Kohl's: Charging stations provide added shopper convenience, free of charge at select Kohl’s stores across eleven states

Kohl's Department Stores today announced that the company will pilot electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 33 Kohl's stores nationwide. Each participating Kohl's store will have one to four parking spaces reserved for EV drivers to charge at no cost while they shop. Charging stations can be activated by EV drivers in various ways including radio frequency identification (RFID) cards available at Kohl's customer service desk and via phone numbers provided on the charging stations. To maximize the number of participating Kohl's stores, the company is partnering with ECOtality Inc. and Coulomb Technologies on the installation of these charging stations and as a participant in their respective EV infrastructure pilot programs funded partially through the U.S. Department of Energy.

"Kohl's pilot of electric vehicle charging stations demonstrates our commitment to advancing environmental solutions in a meaningful and tangible way for our customers," said John Worthington, Kohl's chief administrative officer. "Not only are these stations an added shopper convenience, they also encourage environmental responsibility among our shoppers. We will continue to explore additional locations to pilot charging stations at our stores nationwide."

'Secret' Environment Canada presentation warns of oilsands' impact on habitat

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thanks to Jim Rowen for highlighting this article on his blog The Political Enviroment. The article by Mike De Souza appeared in the Vancouver Sun:

Contamination of a major western Canadian river basin from oilsands operations is a "high-profile concern" for downstream communities and wildlife, says a newly-released "secret" presentation prepared last spring by Environment Canada that highlighted numerous warnings about the industry's growing footprint on land, air, water and the climate.

The warnings from the department contrast with recent claims made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent that the industry is being unfairly targeted by environmentalists who exaggerate its impacts on nature and people.

The presentation noted figures from the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a collaboration among industry, government and academics, that estimate the oilsands sector is responsible for more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada, and will contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the country's economy over the next 25 years.

But it warned that Alberta and other parts of Western Canada are facing a steep economic and ecological price tag for failing to crack down on the industry's collateral damage.

"Contamination of the Athabasca River is a high-profile concern," said the presentation, marked secret, but released to Postmedia News through access to information legislation.

"Recent studies suggest elevated levels of pollutants near mining sites including hydrocarbons and heavy metals . . . (It) raises questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities. . . ."

"The oilsands are Canada's fastest growing source of GHGs," said the document.

It estimated that the industry's annual greenhouse gas emissions would rise by nearly 900 per cent from 1990 to 2020. By the end of that period, the oilsands — with an estimated annual footprint of 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases in 2020 — would exceed the carbon footprint of all cars and SUVs on Canadian roads from 2008, according to the Environment Canada document.

The document also warns of other rising air pollutants that could cause acid rain or other forms of acidification to damage lakes in Saskatchewan and Alberta, along with particulate matter that could be toxic to rivers, the landscape and wildlife.

Beyond Coal - Organizing around Renewables, January 13

Monday, December 05, 2011

The RENEW Energy Policy Summit, January 13, 2012, Madison, will feature Leslie Glustrom, a founding member of Clean Energy Action. She is trained as a biochemist and has spent over 30 years working at the interface of science and society in a variety of roles, including science writer, policy analyst, college instructor and research lab manager.

In February 2009 she authored an extensively referenced report on US coal supplies entitled, “Coal—Cheap and Abundant—Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming that the US Has a 200-Year Supply of Coal.” The report is available for free download from www.cleanenergyaction.org.

Leslie has traveled extensively and now works with regulatory staff and citizen activists in many states to raise awareness about US coal supply and cost issues.

Leslie is the recent recipient of the Colorado Solar Energy Society President’s Award, the Boulder County Audubon Community Conservation Award, the PLAN Boulder County Gilbert White award and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society Larson-Notari award.

Register here for the Summit.

Suncor tar sands refinery leaks crude into South Platte River

Thursday, December 01, 2011

From a post on the blog of the National Defense Resource Council:

Colorado officials fear that vast amounts of petroleum have been leaking into the South Platte River from a broken pipeline at a refinery operated by tar sands producer Suncor. It is not yet clear how long oil has been leaking into the South Platte River, how much has been spilled or what substance was spilled. State officials are currently testing the water on the South Platte River, a major source of drinking water, wildlife habitat and agricultural water for Colorado and the Midwest. Meanwhile, levels of benzene and volatile organic compounds at the nearby Denver Metro Wastewater plant required a partial closure. Suncor is the oldest tar sands producers, up to 90% of its production comprised of tar sands bitumen. The company uses its Colorado refinery to process some of the heavy tar sands coming from the Express and Platte pipelines. At a time when companies like TransCanada and Enbridge are proposing to build tar sands infrastructure through our rivers and water resources---and some in Congress are trying to speed up the process by skipping environmental review---this spill provides another sad example of what can go wrong with these projects.